The old Saturday Night Live, Chris Rywalt writes, "is actually much, much worse than we remember. The current season only seems like a severe drop in quality. The show has actually always sucked."
Rywalt, as usual, isn't entirely wrong. But he isn't quite right, either. (And vice-versa.) In more than 30 years on the air, Saturday Night Live has produced many gems. Think of the Two Wild and Crazy Guys, the Samurai Deli, Gumby, Willie and Frankie, Billy Crystal's Joe Franklin Show bits, Ebony and Ivory, Chris Farley's Motivational Speaker, The Sinatra Group, "More Cowbell." Think of those great ad parodies like Schmitt's Gay and Bad Idea Jeans. But a show that has 90 minutes to fill also produces a lot of unfunny garbage. How many sketches have we seen over the years that went on for six or seven minutes with few laughs and lame endings?
Andy Samberg's digital shorts are exemplars of the best and worst of Saturday Night Live currently. I'm a big fan of Samberg's humor-laced brand of Jewish hip-hop. As good as those videos are, however, there always seems to be something that strikes a sour note. The Taser punch line in "On the Ground" doesn't quite work for me. And there is something about Shy Ronnie's "accident" that falls one or two degrees short of funny to me, even though the ending is terrific.
Subjective? Well, in matters of taste there is no argument, as the sages say. I believe I'll have another potato chip.